Terri Irwin, the widow of Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, announced plans to Australian journalists to donate over $1 million to tag, track and research endangered whales through new studies scheduled to begin this year. Irwin states, “We are working with Oregon State University to do formalized research in the southern hemisphere … We can actually learn everything the Japanese are learning with lethal research by using non-lethal research.” Irwin has been a vocal opponent of Japanâ€™s harvesting of whales for scientific data. Here’s an exerpt from the salem-news.com:
The Marine Mammal Institute at Oregon State University will begin studies in 2008 in both the southern and northern hemispheres on a variety of whale species to improve information on their habitats and stock identity, which could eliminate the need for killing whales solely for gathering research data.
Funding for the project, which will use high-tech, non-lethal methods, will be provided primarily through grants from Terri Irwin, wife of internationally recognized wildlife advocate Steve Irwin (the â€œCrocodile Hunterâ€?).
Japan has been a focal point in recent years for harvesting whales for scientific purposes â€“ a practice that has put the country at odds with many in the scientific community and the public at-large.
The Japanese whaling fleet had planned to kill up to 50 endangered humpback whales this year, but in the wake of international protests, officials there announced they would suspend their harvest of humpback whales, but will continue with plans to kill 935 minke whales and 50 fin whales.
Both humpback and fin whales are listed on the Endangered Species List in the United States, and considered â€œvulnerableâ€? in the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Redbook.
Irwin’s daughter Bindi also plans to record a new anti-whaling song, “Save Me,” and publicize it in Asia in a bid to raise awareness of the issue.
Be sure to read the previous blog postings on OSU’s Marine Mammal Institute and the marine biology program . Hats off to the Irwins for their awareness, efforts, and generosity. Here’s a photo of Bindi, Terri and son Bobby: